Legal issues must not derail whistleblower protection law
MEPs and activists reacted with dismay, at today’s Greens and S&D ‘Protecting EU Whistleblowers: A Race Against Time’ conference, to the suggestion that the opinion of the Council’s legal services, on the whistleblowers protection file, could delay or even derail the proposed legislation.
Whistleblower protection before European elections?
The suggestion that the recent opinion of the Council’s legal services, on the whistleblowers protection file, could delay or even derail the proposed legislation, was rejected by MEPs and activists at today's whistleblower protection event, held at the European Parliament. Speakers expressed their fears that a final agreement may not reached before the upcoming European elections.
It was revealed in December that the legal service of the Council in an opinion on the legal basis of the whistleblowers protection directive, which argued that the directive must be split into several different legal acts.
Green MEP Pascal Durand addressing attendees said, ‘When this one [Council] legal opinion is pitted against all the other legal opinions, it would make a lot of sense to go with the majority of legal opinions and not focus on this one’, aberrant legal opinion.
European needs and deserves a good whistleblower protection regime
Martin Jefflén, President of Eurocadres, agreed: ‘It is strange that there have been several legal opinions, none of which brought up the issues raised by Council’s legal services, at this late stage. Our members and the public would rightly be extremely disappointed if this became a block to Europe having the good whistleblower protection regime it needs and deserves’.
If the whistleblower protection legislation is not finalised, European citizens will question the reliability of EU institutions,
According to MEP Virginie Rozière, the Rapporteur who guided the whistleblower protection dossier through the European Parliament, ‘the assessment of legal opinions will come down to political decisions’. She believes that if the whistleblower protection legislation is not finalised, ‘European citizens will question the reliability of EU institutions, especially as they have seen so much illegal activities and wrong-doing uncovered by whistleblowers in recent years’.
Durand went even further, he claimed that a failure to pass whistleblower protection legislation, including protection when reporting on tax evasion, would undermine the whole European project. He said, ‘the EU might as well just shut up shop, if we cannot get this done. This would be a massive failure on the part of the EU. A horizontal single piece of legislation represents the best of European values, it would be real shame to not have this success going into the European elections’.
Failure to pass whistleblower protection legislation, would undermine the whole European project
It would look strange, continued the MEP, if ‘the EU can pass legislation on trade secrets but not do so on whistleblowers protection’, when EU citizens have clearly expressed their support for such measures’. He pleaded with Member States to assist parliamentarians in achieving a robust directive which encourages whistleblowing and creates a Europe-wide system to protect whistleblowers.
Romanian Presidency convinced an acceptable compromise can be reached
However, Carmen Necula, Permanent representation of Romania to the EU and Vice President of FREMP, the working party of the Council which is responsible for the issue, said she is ‘confident that we will find a compromise proposal, in Council, which is acceptable to everyone’, when addressing the conference. She stated that the ‘whistleblowers protection file, is a priority for the Romanian Presidency’.
We will find a compromise proposal, in Council, which is acceptable to everyone.
Necula confirmed that the Council will be tackling the file tomorrow, 10th of January, in terms of seeing if there is a way forward, which Member States can agree on. The file will then go to Coreper on the 16th of January where further efforts will be made to reach political consensus. Member States are also expected to set out their red lines at this Coreper meeting.
Today, on World Whistleblowing Day 2021 – less than 6 months before the deadline to transpose the Directive – we highlight key developments in EU countries since the publication of the report.
The partnership of Eurocadres, the Whistleblowing International Network (WIN) and Transparency International EU is delighted to announce the development and launch of EU Whistleblowing Monitor, a new online platform to monitor transposition and implementation of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing (2019/1937) across Europe.
Seven months remains for EU member states to transpose the whistleblower directive into national legislation.
Can transposing the Whistleblower Protection Directive be done on time? Maybe, but not at the cost of transparency and inclusiveness
EU governments were given two years to bring their national whistleblowing frameworks in line with the EU Directive on Whistleblower Protection.
Transposition of the Whistleblower Protection Directive is a chance to ensure that people can expose abuses safely across the European Union – but EU nations might be letting the opportunity pass us all by.
The EU Whistleblowing Meter tracks the progress of transposition in each country.
Professor Wim Vandekerckhove from University of Greenwich has analysed the work of the platform in reaching a directive proposal on the protection of whistleblowers.
EVENT – 23 February, 14:00 – 15:30 (CET)
What should be the role of trade unions in whistleblowing? Which internal arrangements, should be in place to establish a culture which promotes whistleblowing?
On World Whistleblowing Day, 23 June, the Whistleblowing International Network along with its many partners and colleagues across Europe are launching the EU Whistleblowing Meter